Steve Smith Blocked From Playing In Big Bash League Finals; Cricket Fraternity Reacts In Shock And Anger | Cricket News

Australia batter Steve Smith’s attempt to play in the Big Bash League (BBL) finals was blocked on Friday, evoking shock and anger from members of the cricket fraternity. Smith had applied to appear for Sydney Sixers in their playoff clash against Perth Scorchers in the BBL finals on Saturday. Smith wasn’t part of the Sixers’ squad list for this season due to his national team commitments. However, the cancellation of Australia’s white-ball series against New Zealand opened a window of opportunity for Smith to play in the BBL finals. His attempt to play in the tournament was, however, rejected as other states voted against his inclusion.

Cricket Australia (CA) contended that Smith was not part of the local replacement player pool (LRP) from which Covid-hit teams are allowed to pick players and that his inclusion would have contravened rules.

“In creating the central LRP pool, it was agreed that clubs would not be able to contract LRPs from outside the pool for the remainder of the season,” quoted CA as saying in a statement on Friday.

“This request was denied … noting that other players returning to the BBL from international duty have been retained on club lists throughout the competition.”

Members of the cricket fraternity, however, were not impressed by the decision.

“You have got a former Australian captain, one of the best players in the world,” Sixers captain Moises Henriques told reporters on Friday.


“You have got IPL teams who pay multi-million dollars just to have this guy as part of their franchise. Advertising, bums on seats, eyes on TVs – I mean, you do the maths,” he added.

“How bizarre? Why would you not want one of the best to able to play in your domestic tournament?” tweeted former England captain Michael Vaughan.

“This makes absolutely ZERO sense to me. CA served up a free hit and decide to let it go through to the keeper. Why on earth would you turn down a star who wants to play. You can’t claim integrity of the competition grounds given all that has gone on this year…” tweeted former Australia cricketer Ed Cowan.

“Am I the only one who thinks it’s crazy that we pushed on blindly with replacement players simply for content fulfilment, thus losing competitive integrity, yet we won’t allow Steve Smith to be on TVs playing for the team his always represented and led #ReplacementsOverSmudge,” wrote former cricketer Joe Burns on Twitter.

Cricket New South Wales chief executive and former New Zealand skipper Lee Germon said: “Would this happen to LeBron (James) in the NBA? ‘Sorry Tom Brady in the NFL, or Virat Kohli in the IPL. You can’t play because we had a change at a point in time’. It would never happen.”

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